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Supreme Court considers DC handgun ban

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments Tuesday in District of Columbia v. Heller [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 07-290, a case where the Court considered whether the Second Amendment [text] to the US constitution prohibits the District of Columbia from banning private handgun possession. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against the handgun ban [PDF text; JURIST report] last year, saying that the 30-year-old ban was unconstitutional. The Washington, DC mayor and attorney general appealed [JURIST report] the federal appeals court ruling to the US Supreme Court.

The justices seemed to agree Tuesday that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to possess guns rather than only for service in a militia, but there was less consensus on whether the District of Columbia's ban passes constitutional muster. Heller represents the first time the Supreme Court has analyzed the Second Amendment in nearly 70 years. The Court last directly addressed the Second Amendment in 1939 in US v. Miller [text]. AP has more.

4:40 PM ET - The transcript [PDF text] of Tuesday's oral argument is now available.

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